My little guy has been struggling to be away from me. He frequently melts down when I drop him off at daycare, or even at church nursery. Heck, sometimes he even protests when I walk into the next room.
I’ve written about the effect his crying has had on me when I drop him off at daycare. It sometimes makes the dreaded mom-guilt bubble up. I am sure many of you can relate. Leaving your baby in the care of somebody else can be tough. Add a tearful, clinging meltdown to the situation, and it can break your heart!
I also have written about how changing the way we view stressful situations can make us healthier and happier. I have really tried to take that lesson to heart.
Since this is something that I am dealing with, I know there are likely a lot of other moms struggling with the same stage right now. So I thought I’d do a little fact-based post on separation anxiety. Understanding the separation anxiety has helped me cope, and it is helping me feel a little less guilty.
So here are some facts about separation anxiety (Source: Just the Facts Baby):
1. It is not necessarily a bad thing. Most of the time it is actually a good thing. It demonstrates that your child has formed a loving connection with you, confirming that the child associates comfort, security and pleasure from your very presence.
2. It is a natural stage of development. Most kids between the ages of 7 months – 18 months experience some sort of separation anxiety.
3. It marks a cognitive milestone, confirming that your child is developing intellectually. For example, it shows that your child understands his/her power to express a need and have it met, as opposed to passively accepting an uncomfortable situation.
4. It will pass with time. Your baby may not yet understand or trust that you will return. This trust will be built over time.
Here are a few strategies for managing separation anxiety (Source – KellyMom):
1. Remain calm and consistent, and establish a good-bye routine.
2. Play games like peek-a-boo to help the baby learn object permanence. That is just a fancy was of saying that you can teach a baby that things can still exist, even if they aren’t in sight.
3. Give your child some of his or her favorite familiar toys, like a blanket or favorite stuffed animal. These familiar objects can make your baby feel more secure.
The biggest lesson I have learned it don’t let it cause you to doubt yourself! Crying when you leave does not mean (1) that you are doing something wrong, (2) that you have somehow spoiled your child or (3) that you should never leave the child. It’s just part of growing up and learning how the world works.
Has separation anxiety ever made you feel guilty? Do you have any tips for dealing with separation anxiety?
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